Friday, August 24, 2018

Suggestions for First Time DragonCon Attendees

Some advice for first-time DragonCon attendees. (This will be my 21st and I still feel like I’ve only ever scratched the surface of all the stuff going on.)

- Take some time to sit back and look around and take it all in. DragonCon is hectic—it’s “go go go” almost 24/7 from Thursday afternoon through Monday afternoon. But there’s so much to see if you just stop a minute and look up. There are like 80,000 people there and roughly half of them will be in some kind of costume, and many of those are excellent (and/or funny). That’s the thing DragonCon is most known for, and it’s worth seeing. And most of those people won’t be in the parade so even if you watch that, you will still only see most of the costumes in the halls and streets.

- Go outside occasionally. It’s entirely possible to fly into Hartsfield-Jackson, take the subway to Peachtree Center, take the skywalks to most of the hotels, and never go outside the entire weekend. But get some air, man! (And see all the crowds out there, too. And there are other places to eat besides just the food court!)

- Hit events in multiple tracks. I know some attendees basically “live” all weekend in one track room, and that’s cool—but DragonCon has SO MANY tracks and every single one of them does things slightly different, each with its own flair and quirks and unique personalities and great people running it. You might discover new stuff you never expected would become a favorite.

- Don’t expect to arrive at the main hotels zone on Saturday morning and be able to go anywhere. The parade has gotten HUGE and the streets are blocked off for it—and all the people wanting to watch it absolutely clog the sidewalks all around. I’ve literally been trapped inside the Marta subway station for over an hour before and almost missed a panel I was on. It starts at 10 am but people are packing the sidewalks well before that. Get down there early and get inside while you can!!

- Like every other Chick Fil A, the super-popular and insanely crowded one in Peachtree Center Food Court is closed on Sunday. So it is packed on Friday and Saturday. And there’s never anywhere to sit, anywhere in the food court, unless you lurk and pounce on a table as people are leaving or you ask to sit at a table with people already there. (I’ve done this many times and they’re always very kind about it.)

- I will add more as I think of it!

Thursday, August 02, 2018

DragonCon 2018 tentative schedule

Okay, gang— here’s where to find me and what I will be doing at DragonCon this year.
Always subject to change, and I will be adding a Reading session as well.

Title: Barnes and Niven 
Description: Steven Barnes and Larry Niven talk about collaborating with each other, with Jerry Pournelle, & with others.
Time: Fri 11:30 am Location: Regency VI-VII - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel 
(Tentative Panelists: Steven Barnes, Larry Niven, Van Allen Plexico)

NEW: Battlestar Galactica Frakkin’ 40th/15th Anniversary Panel
Battlestar Galactica 1978; Galactica 1980; Battlestar Galactica 2003; Caprica; Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome; the comics; the books; the toys; the people. Whatever version you prefer, whatever your experience--we’ll reminisce over 40 years of BSG. With American Sci-Fi Classics.
Location: Westin Chastain DE
Time: Friday 1 pm

Title: Military SciFi Writers and Creators - Media Edition
Description: A roundtable with military science fiction writers and artists--whether in tie-ins or independent worlds--to discuss the genre, trends, real-world accuracy, and working within the complex worlds of Military Sci-Fi.
Time: Fri 04:00 pm Location: Chastain DE - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Georges Jeanty, Kacey Ezell, Amy J. Murphy)

Title: Beowulf in Media Adaptions
Description: Hwæt! The epic of Beowulf has been adapted several times for screens large and small. What elements translate well and which do not? Is the world still waiting for a true screen adaption of one of our oldest stories?
Time: Fri 05:30 pm Location: L401-L403 - Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico)

Title: Babylon 5: In the Beginning, 25 Years Later
Description: This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Babylon 5 premiere, and it lives on in our hearts and minds. Come join our panelists as we all share our favorite memories and experiences of this amazing show, “Our Last Best Hope for Peace.” Dual programming with American Sci-Fi Classics.
Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: Chastain DE - Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico, John Hudgens)

Title: Schoolhouse Rock 45th Anniversary: That's What's Happening
Description: Celebrate the Saturday morning classics where galaxy girls and legislation that wore bowties (and nothing else) taught us everything we need to know. Everything.
Time: Sat 10:00 am Location: M103-M105 - Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Jim Beard, Kevin Eldridge, Sue Kisenwether, Mike Faber, Van Allen Plexico)

Title: Pulp: Not Just Old Paper
Description: Pulp is a genre like unto no other. In the past, it started a lot of careers. It's enjoying a resurgence, so our panelists will tell us about it, why they find it interesting, & why they write it.
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Embassy AB - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel 
(Tentative Panelists: Bobby Nash, James Palmer, Van Allen Plexico, Jim Beard, John G. Hartness)

Title: SciFi Jeopardy
Description: Host Van Plexico provides answers to which you give the questions. Anything from SF is fair game. There will be prizes!!!
Time: Sat 04:00 pm Location: Embassy AB - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel 
(Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico)

Title: Marvel vs. DC Trivia
Description: Pit your knowledge of the Fantastic Four against someone's knowledge of the Justice League! Join us for our longstanding tradition of Marvel vs. DC Trivia, hosted as always by Van Allen Plexico.
Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: International South - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel 
(Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico)

Title: Tolkien Fan Wars
Description: Tolkien fans are nothing if not passionate, from Balrog wings to elven ears, and book purists to movie enthusiasts (but which director?) Come to join some friendly debates!
Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: L401-L403 - Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico, Constance G.J. Wagner)

Title: Dead Author Society
Description: In a revisit, authors that have left us return to share their knowledge and personalities - and answer questions. Our panelists will act as their avatars.
Time: Sat 10:00 pm Location: Embassy AB - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico, Jim Beard)

Title: Reading Session: Van Allen Plexico 
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Marietta Room - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico)

Title: 2001's 50th Anniversary: Also Sprach Arthur C. Clarke 
Description: Although it's not the anniversary of the story, it is of the Kubrick movie. So let us examine the movie in terms of the book & remember a giant.
Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: Embassy AB - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel 
(Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico, Steven Barnes)

Title: The Rise and Fall of Denethor
Description: The nearly Númenórean Steward is one of Tolkien's most morally grey characters. Heathen? Tragic hero? Political realist? Victim of fake news? Let's talk about him!
Time: Mon 10:00 am Location: L401-L403 - Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Van Allen Plexico, Constance G.J. Wagner)